Bad Ronald

1974 weird kid movie

Rating: 4/20

Plot: The titular high school outcast accidentally kills a girl. His protective mother decides that his best bet is to hide in a secret room in the center of the house. Unfortunately, mother dies, leaving Ronald to take care of himself. Oh, snap! It's just like The Diary of Anne Frank except with more psychotic behavior and a funny old lady with a funny old hat instead of the Gestapo.

There's a fatal flaw in this movie. Well, probably a few fatal flaws. Ronald is hiding out in a bathroom turned into a secret hiding room. Ostensibly, he uses the toilet. Wouldn't flushing the toilet give him away? And how do these people not know that the layout of this house just doesn't make sense? Seems like they'd know there was a big bunch of wasted space right in the middle. The Brady family must be the dumbest people on earth.

This is a fairly entertaining bad made-for-television movie that apparently a lot of people have fond memories of. There's an awful child actress (Angela Hoffman) who we get to see murdered. There's also an awful old lady actress who might have given my favorite performance of the year, an almost entirely silent role as a nosy neighbor with an audacious hat. It takes a special talent to act this badly without getting any lines. Linda Watkins is her name, and this was her last acting job before she passed away a couple years later, possibly of shame. I should also mention the real estate guy who reminded me of that high-talker on that Seinfeld episode. Or maybe Winnie the Pooh. The guy playing the title character, the great Scott Jacoby, actually did play Peter in a version of The Diary of Anne Frank. His performance is bad, but even Henry Winkler would look like a terrible actor when given lines like this gem after he kills the little girl: "My God! Why aren't you fooling?" I'm pretty sure Jacoby performed his own stunts in this movie, and the bicycle accident that eventually leads to manslaughter might be the best stunt I've ever seen. There's also a great scene where Jacoby eats an apple using only the side of his mouth. I've never seen an apple being eaten that way before, but I'll never not eat an apple like that again. Seriously, it's pretty awesome. You know what else is pretty awesome? The mother buying Ronald a tool kit for his birthday. Of course, the plot requires a tool kit later on, but this kid just doesn't look like the type who would have any idea what to do with a tool kit. Something else I love about this movie: Several times, the soundtrack is nothing more than a person whistling. Badly. It's faint and bad enough that I wondered if it was accidental, like the sound guy was cleaning up and didn't realize that he was recording himself or something. I did think the scene where Ronald's hiding spot is discovered was really well done. The rest of the movie? Not so well done. It's still a bit of fun though.

Not to be confused with Bad Boy Bubby.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Psycho

1998 remake

Rating: 4/20 (Sam: 10/20)

Plot: Same as the first Psycho. But you should actually just do yourself a favor, Anne Heche, and see the original Psycho instead.

First off, I need somebody to explain to me why this exists. A shot-for-shot color (TV movie color) remake of a classic with an inferior cast? Who asked for this? Was it an experiment to see how you could put the same story and even identical imagery into the hands of a director who isn't nearly as good and end up with crap?

Had to watch it though, mostly because of the added fun of watching in there on the Urine Couch of the motel. Same reason I'd watch a Gus Van Sant remake of Vertigo if I had a job in a belfry, a Gus Van Sant remake of Lifeboat if I happened to be stranded on a raft with a Nazi, or a Gus Van Sant remake of Strangers on a Train if I operated a carousel at a cheap and filthy carnival. They're opportunities that you just can't pass up. Sam hung round for the duration, and Siskel got all pissy because he was in his seat.

The shot-for-shot remake idea is silly enough, but good ol' Gus didn't want to seem lazy and did add a few of his own personal touches, all extraneous and distracting. I did appreciate that the funky-looking falling-down-the-stairs-backwards scene was replicated with William H. Macy because that's just awesome Somebody should fall down the stairs like that in every movie. But the neon pink blood taking the place of Hitchcock's chocolate syrup? What's with that? The surreal random shots of naked people and sheep during Macy's death scene? Don't get me wrong--I can almost always be counted on the "pro" side when it comes to adding sheep to a movie, but I'm missing some symbolism or something here.

Here's some confusing trivia for you: Anne Heche, the Marion for this updated version, had never seen the original Psycho. OK, I can believe that. But the cinematographer, Christopher Doyle? I'm sorry, and maybe I'm being too hard on Mr. Doyle, but that just doesn't seem right. Think about it: a cinematographer who has never seen Hitchcock's Psycho? Isn't that something like being a roofer without ever having seen a roof or a baker without ever having tasted a cake? You don't have to answer that. It's a hypothetical question, and I'm right anyway.

Vince Vaughn? The only thing I can think of is that Vince Vaughn's uncle helped finance this movie.

You know what Gus Van Sant should do next? A shot-for-shot remake (in black and white) of The Cat in the Hat. Vince Vaughn can be in that. So can Anne Heche's nipples.

Seriously, didn't everybody involved in this have something better to do with his or her time? Gus could have made himself another gay movie. Anne Heche could have been doing some serious lesbianing. Vince Vaughn could have been training for a job as a roofer or a master baker. William H. Macy could have really been falling down a flight of stairs. Any project they decided to take on would have ended up being better than this--one of the most worthless motion pictures of all time.

Uncle Alfred does not approve one bit:

Urine Couch Movie Club: Forrest Gump

1994 retarded man movie

Rating: 15/20

Plot: Terminally dumb guy Forrest Gump, habitually in the right historical place at the right historical time, bumbles his way through a few tumultuous decades of America. He meets presidents, becomes a war hero, starts a successful shrimp business, hooks up with the hot drug addict who just so happens to be his childhood sweetheart, and runs a lot. It's all mildly entertaining.

There are tons of things that I really like about this movie. I like the cynical look at the American landscape during the 60s-80s, and there are a lot of funny moments. Robert Zemeckis, when he's not busy giving innocent children terrifying nightmares with those creepy cartoons he's currently unleashing, is real good at creating that artificial movie magic. Most of the credit comes from the special effects wizardry of putting the titular retard in archival footage of presidents or removing Lt. Dan's legs. But the delicate floatings of a bookend feather, the too-clean Hollywoody Vietnam scenes, and the period details are also very well done. I always thought this meandered a little too much and seemed thematically or satirically uneven, but then I read the book which has Gump in outer space and shit which makes the film version seem simple and straightforward by comparison. Great performances from top to bottom. I never really thought Tom Hanks deserved that second Oscar for this performance, but he really does a good job at humanizing this character who could have easily been ruined by a Jim Carrey. I believe this is the first time I ever noticed Gary Sinese, and I liked the depth and arc of his character. This is bursting with music, undoubtedly an attempt to make crusty old hippies all nostalgic. Overall, it's a movie that I can like without really crossing the line into loving territories because it just goes too far too often, yanking at heartstrings like a demented harpist and stretching a character just a little too thin. My favorite part: when young Forrest is running and his leg braces break off. It would have been better if the technical geniuses responsible for giving Clark those rubbery legs in Superman would have done their thing. Pulp Fiction should have won the Best Picture, by the way.


1960 motel movie

Rating: 18/20 (Jen: 17/20)

Plot: The new highway's made the Bates Motel a little out-of-the-way, and Norman and his mother try to keep the business afloat. A gal who's just stolen a bunch of money finds her way to the little secluded motel, decides to take a quick shower, and ends up (spoiler alert!) losing all her chocolate syrup!

The IMDB trivia page for this one has a few fun nuggets. Randy ol' Alfred referred to Perkins as "Master Bates" throughout the production. And this is the first ever movie to show a flushing toilet. Oh, and Marion's white car (lots of black and white symbolism in this movie) is the Cleavers' car on Leave It to Beaver.

Well, Jennifer had not seen this movie. Not only that--she had no idea what happened in it. I was a little envious actually. I remember when my father showed me this when I was three. The iconic house, the quick edits during that so-complex shower scene, the shocking ending. I want to see all that for the first time, too! This rolls along like a B-movie directed by an auteur, and its brilliance is really in the chances that Uncle Alfred takes with the story and the breaking of movie conventions. Killing the lead actress off halfway through the movie? C'mon. You're just not supposed to do that. The psychotic mother/relationship that would make Oedipus cringe and Freud demand to be helped out of his underpants? No wonder Walt Disney refused to let Hitchcock film on Disney property because of this "disgusting movie"! Herrman's score is among the best, right up there with Jaws when you're talking about most recognizable and duplicated scores of all time. Unlike some of my favorite Hitchcock movies, this one doesn't get better each time you watch it. It's not without flaws, and without the surprises, it's just not as much fun. You unfortunately can't watch this for the first time more than once. But with its iconic imagery, that incredible score, one of the creepiest villains in movie history, almost overwhelming suspense, and a nipple that I might have only imagined, this is still something that you'll never forget.

Having said that, when I asked Jen for her rating, she at first said, "Psycho? I don't remember it."

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: A Perfect Getaway

2009 movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: A couple on their honeymoon in Hawaii discover that a pair of killers are on the loose. Oh, snap! And oh, double snap! They realize that the couple they are hiking with might be them!

Note: Zooey Deschanel is not in this movie after all. Apparently, I get her and Milla Jovovich confused.

I've seen this movie twice in two weeks because the second time, there was nothing on except some reminders about how bad my fantasy football teams were doing and reruns of Married with Children. It's worth watching twice for the single best line/delivery that (hyperbole alert!) I've ever heard: Steve Zahn's (Cliff's) "I haven't seen any goats!" It makes me laugh just thinking about it. Gene Siskel and I couldn't stop nudging each other after this movie was over and repeating that line. Nudge nudge, a widening of the eyes, and a whining "I haven't seen any goats!" It's the sort of delivery that can make Steve Zahn the greatest actor ever in your eyes. Speaking of greatest actor ever, Timmy Olyphant--a guy who's got my vote for actor with the goofiest last name--makes a reference to Nicolas Cage and how he gets all intense at the end of a line. There's a lot of halfassed meta-gags in this, and it eventually erupts into nothing more than scene after scene of characters stabbing each other and then pulling knives out of themselves. But for a B-movie, this really isn't all that bad. There's the kind of big twist that the kids all love. The second time I watched this movie, I saw it coming the entire time. The first time though? I'm not sure if it was because I'm stupid or because the movie broke a few of the unwritten rules of cinematic plot twists, but it was nearly chilling and entirely surprising to me. I guess. I don't know. A lot of the on-location shots of Hawaii were easy on the eyes, and so was Kiele Sanchez who is just naked enough in one scene while lying facedown on a raft to get the "partial nudity" tag in the parental warnings. Anyway, I really can't wait to watch this movie a third time!

Note: This breaks my record for most movies watched in a row that I thought Zooey Deschanel was in but she actually wasn't. At least on the Urine Couch.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Almost Famous

2000 coming-of-age rock and roller

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Underaged wannabe rock journalist William stumbles into the opportunity of a lifetime--a chance to follow around and interview up-and-coming rock 'n' roll monsters Stillwater. He meets a groupie called Penny Lane (apparently that's a song by the Beach Boys or something) and a friendship develops while he struggles to get the sit-down interview he wants with the band members so that he can turn in his story on time. He turns to Lester Bangs for advice.

I think I really like this movie so much because of its honesty. Writer/director Cameron Crowe based this on his own experiences, and it really has the feel of a memoir more than a Hollywood movie. It helps that the performances from top to bottom are so good, especially with Patrick Fugit as the kid, a role that Bud Cortt would have probably fit in nicely, Frances McDormand as his concerned mother (she is really really good, especially when pointing out the drug's in Paul Simon's eyes), Billy Crudup as Stillwater's frontman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Bangs. And Kate Hudson playing Drew Barrymore or vice versa. I can't see Kate Hudson without thinking of Goldie Hawn's posterior, by the way, which I imagine is the way most men's brains operate. But back to that realness--this never feels scripted to me, and the actions and growing pains of that fictional rock band ring true. Fugit's like a straight man to the shenanigans of the more interesting characters, but his character's still the heart of the story and I like how he develops throughout. I also like Fugit's chemistry with everybody else in this movie--his mother, the girl, the Stillwater guitarist. Almost Famous has a lot of humor and heart, and when you add a great soundtrack to this well-paced story, you've got yourself a winner.

Note: A Urine Couch movie club viewing that was heavily interrupted by customers and Gene Siskel's faulty ghost bladder. Maybe get yourself a medium Pepsi next time, Gene?

Another thing: First of two movies with Zooey Deschanel that I watched on the Urine Couch, breaking my previous record of zero.

The Element of Crime

1984 futurist noir

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Detective Fisher comes back to Europe after an extended stay in Egypt to help solve a series of murders. He meets with his old mentor and uses his book, The Element of Crime, to try to crack the case.

I'm really amazed that this is somebody first movie. Not that it's thoroughly enjoyable or even really all that coherent, at least after one viewing, but it's got the wankery of a seasoned veteran of movie directing. Influenced heavily by some of cinema's most daring farts, von Trier (a Nazi) still manages to make something completely unique. It's a visual thrill although the story's a bit of a clunker, all these weirdly-lit shots that look like they could have come from a 30s Carl Theodor Dreyer movie. This also recalls Alphaville a bit, a dreamier and more pretentious (if you can believe it) Godard sci-fi noir for your mind's stink eye. But after a while, my tired mind wandered pretty far away from the center of this one as I had trouble following what was going on exactly. The allure or novelty of the visual flavor of The Element of Crime wore off, and there just wasn't enough story or character to cling to. It's worth watching if you're into the artsy-fartsy scene, but this will likely frustrate anybody who's used to normal movies.

Urine Couch Movie Club: Rope

1948 rope movie

Rating: 18/20

Plot: Brandon and Philip (possibly gay) strangle one of their peers with the titular murder weapon and then hide his body in a trunk while throwing a dinner party. Their old teacher Jimmy Stewart starts to get suspicious after one of them yells, "You're quite a good chicken strangler!"

That's such a great scene. The camera moves like on a metronome, bouncing from speaker to speaker. Actually the camera work in this thing is virtuosic and, for me at least, is at least half of the fun. What I love: Brandon (played by Orel Hershiser, I think) post-murder, his expression of unhinged contentment and the way he smokes his cigarette; the kitchen door swinging to reveal the rope dropped into a drawer; the opening of the curtain for the first super-crisp view of the city; the long shot of silent Jimmy at the tail end of that ridiculous chicken story; the camera movements during the "How would you kill David?" scene; the room filling with red neon at the end. Rope, with Hitchcock trying to trick us into thinking it's all a single shot, could have been as stiff as a staged play, but that camera movement and character choreography is so much fun. The Dostoevskian, nihilistic lead characters and their little game fascinate, and there's a lot of humor buried in the script if you look for it. The landlady's arrival, the "knock 'em dead" and "Why can't he keep his hands off people?" lines. As I recall, Hitchcock didn't like Jimmy's performance in this movie and Jimmy didn't like the movie at all. They're both wrong because Stewart is quietly great in this role (I really like watching him think in this movie) and it's definitely in the upper-echelon of Uncle Alfred's flicks.

Urine Couch note: I ended up giving a guy and his whore a room for 25 bucks because I could tell he was going to argue with me and make me miss more of this movie than I wanted to. My manager wasn't too happy about that.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Angels in the Outfield

1994 baseball movie for Christians

Rating: 7/20

Plot: A sad kid roots for his hopeless Angels while hoping his father will come back to spend time with him. God answers his prayers, probably because He knows this is a Disney movie that a lot of people could be seeing and he doesn't mind the free advertising.

The good news for this is that it's not nearly as bad or as offensive as Facing the Giants, the filthiest piece of religious propaganda that I hope to ever see. This doesn't have the heavy-handed religious message, probably since this was made by the Satanic Disney people instead of a Baptist church somewhere in the Bible Belt. It's still the type of movie that could make Jesus into an atheist since it's got writers who, like in the aforementioned Christian football movie, seem to believe that God cares about your sports team enough to answer prayers. Seriously, I've been trying that with my St. Louis Cardinals for years, and it just doesn't work. But again, this is more for entertainment and isn't nearly as dangerous as Facing the Giants or spending a half an hour with participants in an anti-abortion protest. It's got Tony Danza, too, so you know things can't all be bad. As a religious fanatic myself, I was only mildly offended. As a baseball fan, I was a little more offended. The baseball scenes were all pretty silly, and the special effects to make angels come to the aid of Angels looked pretty silly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the white kid in this, not as much of a stretch as it would have been if he had played the black kid. The black kid is played by a real black kid named Milton Davis Jr. He's only been allowed to act in one other movie, 1997's Mad City, and I'm guessing that has something to do with him being one of the worst actors I've ever seen. There's creepy but otherwise banal conversation between the two children throughout this, the most sickening being when one asks if his dad and the other's mom are best friends in heaven. That nearly made the Urine Couch into a Vomit and Urine Couch! Lord have mercy!

I wonder what Alyssa Milano thinks of this movie and her dad's performance in it. If she likes it, I might have to reconsider my rating.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: The Cat in the Hat

2003 worst movie ever candidate

Rating: 1/20

Plot: It's pretty close to what happens in the book as far as I remember, at least for the first half. The biggest difference is that this is complete ass.

This is an hour and a half of complete unpleasantness and in my humble opinion one of the worst movies ever made. If Alec Baldwin, a guy I like, wasn't in this, I'd go ahead and say that everybody involved in the production of this should be executed. Slowly. I'm not a violent man at all and rarely have violent thoughts, but I'd be glad to pull the trigger, yank the switch, jab the instrument, toss the match, or whatever else it takes to do my part in keeping people like this from ever working again. I've recently seen Shrek about two dozen times, and I think I figured out what's wrong with the movie. I can hear Mike Myers in Shrek's voice, and Mike Myers makes me think of this atrocity and I want everybody to die.

This is the second time I've seen The Cat in the Hat. Siskel wanted to watch it because he's got a thing for Kelly Preston, an actress I want dead. And the beginning made me wonder if I was wrong about this movie. It's a nifty colorful start, a cool little Seussian world, albeit one with one of the worst narrators I've ever heard. But within seconds, the whole thing is excruciatingly painful, a headache-inducing affair that offends the ears, the eyes, and somehow even the taste buds. And any reasonable adult's sensibilities, of course. It's equal parts offensive and obnoxious. The warning signs are all there, and if Gene wasn't there and if a tent wasn't pitched in my trousers following one of the sexiest scenes in the history of cinema involving the aforementioned Preston (my new sexual fantasy: Kelly Preston vacuuming me), I would have shut this thing off and tried my best to forget that it existed. It's similar to what I wish I could do with the Holocaust actually. But those warning signs: 1) Uh oh. Children. Bad acting ones at that. One's Dakota Fanning and the other is Spencer Breslin if you want to make some kind of hit list yourself. 2) Uh oh. A dog with too much personality. It's the lazy filmmaker's way of going for cuteness. 3) Uh oh. Go ahead and double up on that animals-with-personality thing with a talking CGI fish voiced by Sean Hayes who also plays the boss and has the annoying catchphrase "You're fiiiiiirrrrrrred-duh!" and who I would like to be dead.

The soundtrack is relentless. David Newman--the guy you get when you can't afford Randy, I'm guessing--has a score-composing philosophy: every single thing that appears on the screen needs to be punctuated with music. The music is constant, highlighting the crap.

Not bad enough? Well, let's add a little cultural stereotyping. Actually, no. Let's add a ton of cultural stereotypes. And speaking of cultural stereotypes, why does the titular cat sound like an old Jewish woman through the movie? That's when he's not imitating the Kool-aide man with the big catchphrase from the film, the one that was supposed to sell Burger King kid meals or put asses in the theater seats--"Oh yeah!" C'mon, writers. Is that the best you can do? Oh yeah? Of course that beats the babysitter pun (something a three-year-old could have come up with--"She sits on babies?") or the "Oh my cod!" line or the hilarious "dirty ho" gag. Oh yeah! All while the cat uses more props than "comedian" Carrot Top. Only Carrot Top is funnier, and that's a sentence I never ever thought I would write. And just when you think the movie can't get any more annoying, they surprise you by throwing in Thing 1 and Thing 2. You know, cause the movie wasn't nearly loud enough before.

You want references to the penis or testicles, farts and belching used for laughs, urine gags, thinly-veiled allusions to sex, or characters on more than one occasion saying "Son of a _____"? This is the movie for you. You can watch this trash with your kid and then wonder why all your kid's teachers hate his guts.

There's a scene in this movie where the cat is hanging from a tree and kids are hitting him because they think he's a pinata. I don't remember for sure, but I'd guess they hit him right in the nutsack because that's the type of thing Dr. Seuss would have thought was hilarious. I wish there would have been some kind of Brandon Lee-type mishap where Mike Myers was beaten to death during the filming of that scene. It would have been a worthy punishment.

This is the worst Dr. Seuss adaptation, and that is saying quite a bit. It's not only that, it's an absolute insult to the writer. Why spend this much money making something that made me want to gouge out my eyes? Wouldn't it have been a lot cheaper just to drive to Dr. Seuss's grave and urinate on it?

And Alec Baldwin? What are you doing? Nice suit, by the way.

A Letter to Three Wives

1949 infidelity-mystery

Rating: 17/20

Plot: A whore writes the titular letter to the titular wives, claiming that she has run off with one of their husbands. Each woman considers the possibility, digging through her mind to find signs that that her husband is the one who's boinking their nemesis, the likely hot-to-trot Addie Ross.

I suspect Cory recommended this one to me because of Kirk Douglas's speech (and when is this guy not good, by the way) about teachers. Or maybe he's heard of my love for the vocoder, the device used to distort the thought-bubble voices of the three wives, weirdly mangling otherwise-ordinary lines like "Why didn't George go fishing?" Or maybe he just recommended it because it's a really cool movie, one I likely wouldn't have caught without his suggestion unless it was on the motel television at 4:30 in the morning or something. I liked the clever structure and the voyeuristic approach to the subject matter, especially with an almost creepy opener with a wandering camera. The characters are all developed so realistically, and like a mystery, I kept trying to put the pieces together in my head and figure out which husband is the unfaithful one. Or, as I was hoping, all three of the husbands leading to this gloriously raunchy menage a quartet during a steamy denouement. Here's a movie that I'm surprised hasn't been updated by Hollywood. Actually, maybe it already has. But I don't think it would work. A contemporary version of this would fail because it would clobber you over the head with big emotions where this one delicately paints pictures of these wives' guts. A remake would also likely be overly cynical, soap-operatic, and soundtrack laden, too. For whatever reason, this recalled one of my favorites, Unfaithfully Yours.

Good recommendation, Cory!

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Love Liza

2002 hilarious downer

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Wilson somnabulates through the days following his wife's shocking suicide. In order to grab life by the proverbial horns once again, he decides to develop a hobby--huffing gasoline. In order to cover for his new addiction, he decides to pretend to fly model airplanes. Meanwhile, he clutches a sealed suicide note from his wife and is confronted by his mother-in-law.

This is one of those quirkily drifting sort of deeply-downbeat comedies, a funny-on-inside-of-the-inside character study of a grief-stricken half-man, similar to a Greenberg or a Punch-Drunk Love and therefore will not appeal to a wide audience. The soundtrack, this time provided by the great Jim O'Rourke, is even very similar. I actually thought the movie was pretty funny, but the laughs definitely didn't come comfortably. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the heart and soul of this movie, and spends its duration doing his Philip Seymour Hoffman thang. He's just got the dejected look and a crackly dejection in his everyday speaking voice that makes him perfect for this sort of role. The performance is moving, but he understands the humor in the role very well, too. I really was moved by the moving and the ending, one of those that I don't reckon would be entirely satisfying to a lot of folks. This is a painful comedy, and although I wouldn't recommend it to everybody, I'd recommend unequivocally to anybody who likes any of those other movies I mentioned up there.

Like watching an Indiana Jones movie in a theater, watching this alone (Gene Siskel's ghost was outside hanging out with a portly prostitute) in the middle of the night on the urine couch made this a more stunning experience than it might have otherwise been. I kind of settled on the 16/20 here.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Appaloosa

2008 Western

Rating: 12/2o

Plot: A crappy Western town is oppressed by a mustachioed rancher and his gang of dirty thugs. A sheriff and his deputy with a good track record for taking care of this sort of business is brought in to clean things up. Renee Zellweger takes the train in to ruin the movie and get in the way of Sheriff Cole getting his job done.

After an intriguing exposition and the introduction of Jeremy Irons, an actor who sells it so well with little more than body language and a mustache, as a really cool villain, this loses steam very quickly and settles for being nothing more than a carbon copy of seemingly every other modern Western, one that isn't gritty or realistic or emotionally deep enough to make me not wish I was watching a Spaghetti Western instead. I've previously mentioned how bored I get whenever Ed "One-Note" Harris is on the screen, but at least he doesn't make me angry like whenever Renee Zellweger is around making those flatulent chipmunk faces at me. There's not a single moment in this movie that doesn't involve Jeremy Irons' hips that I will likely remember. This movie never clicks, as content as cardboard, a hoarse request for dirty water in a filthy saloon.

My movie idea: Any setting, any genre, any director. This could be a sci-fi Western set on a moon of Jupiter directed by any of your no-name Hollywood or Bollywood directors. All I want is a two-hour film in which Renee Zellweger gets beaten with a shovel, preferably by DJ Qualls. In 3-D!

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: American Splendor

2003 movie

Rating: 17/20

Plot: The real life and comic life of the very real Harvey Pekar, author of the American Splendor comics that R. Crumb illustrated, collide in a multimedia presentation.

This is a brilliantly layered movie with some stunning transformative performances from Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, and Judah Friedlander. I dig the playfulness of this one, the twisting of reality, the meandering metafilm technique, the weaving in and out of documentary and narrative. American Splendor is a fun and completely unique biopic that makes you laugh and wonder, taking jabs at the absurdities of human existence. I really like it.

But I would really like to write about something else that happened during this Urine Couch AM Movie Club. About a half hour after I got to work, a transvestite, one of our guests, waltzed in. He had a wig, layers and layers of make-up, a nice blouse, a very short black skirt, these sexy fishnet stocking things, and some black high heels. I know what you're thinking, too. Man, Shane really checked this guy out. Yeah, and what's your point? He asked for a new room key and then sashayed out for what I assumed would be a glamorous evening. Around four-thirty in the morning, he/she came in. I was watching this and heard the ice machine in the room behind me. I peeked through the door and saw that it was my transvestite friend again. He got his ice (I can only imagine what he's using it for) and then walked into the lobby to ask when I'm putting our luxurious continental breakfast out--a few "Manager's Special" doughnuts, some coffee, napkins. I tell him that I usually do that after my movies have ended but offer him the rest of yesterday's doughnuts. He took two stale doughnuts and thanked me. "Man, thank you so much. I just don't have any money right now." He high-heeled out again, and I sat down to enjoy more American Splendor. Fifteen minutes later, he came back with a shrink-wrapped pornographic dvd. He flashed both sides at me and said, "Hey, do you know anybody who would be interested in buying this for five dollars?" I apologized and told him that I didn't.

I found out the next day that he refused to leave. He told our front desk person that she was going to have to call the police because he wasn't going anywhere.

Urine Cough AM Movie Club: Psycho 3

1986 sequel

Rating: 5/20

Plot: It's more silliness at the Bates Motel, a motel only slightly less spooky than the one I work at. Norman's apparently still out and about, hitting on nuns and attracting drifters. A nosey newspaper reporter comes along to find a story. Stuffed birds watch it all with their dead eyes.

I had no plans to watch this movie, but I thought it was cool to watch a movie about a motel while working at a motel and couldn't pass up the opportunity. I've wondered why the motel I work at hasn't been closed down. Same question needs to be asked about the Bates Motel, right? I've not seen the second movie, but I just couldn't take my eyes off this thing after all the nun craziness at the beginning, the arm-sewing insanity, the taxidermy, and the dancing boy. You get the iconic setting imagery, a few creepy moments, and a soundtrack with all kinds of nifty electronic sounds. You also get a shower scene and an attempt to replicate one of the original's goofier scenes--the falling-down-the-stairs scene. Perkins is particularly wooden, probably because he had to perform double duty playing is iconic character and directing this nonsense. Not sure who wrote this but he apparently had trouble figuring out if he wanted a comedy or a horror flick. It's a little bit of both as a lot of the scenes are played for giggles while other scenes that aren't supposed to be funny at all end up funny anyway. And I believe the line "You can twirl my baton" is in the movie somewhere. That's the only "note" I took on this movie, but a precursory Google search makes me wonder if it was actually in the movie at all. Maybe I was dreaming or maybe one of my motel's guests said that to me at one point. Nevertheless, Hitchcock wouldn't have allowed that line to be in his movie or in the real life of somebody watching one of his movies. Oh, and Jeff Fahey's in this movie! The guy's ubiquitous! I just checked and he's got eleven movies coming out this year alone. Eleven! That's more than the amount of lesson plans I'll write this school year. One more thing: this helps seal a work-in-progress theory I have about the posteriors of nuns. I don't feel like getting into that now though.

The Lovely Bones

2009 garbage

Rating: 7/20

Plot: A little girl is lured into this bitchin' underground clubhouse by her creepy neighbor who plays with dolls. To use her words--it's neato. Unfortunately, her good time ends when she's murdered and stuffed into a safe. Stuck in CGI-purgatory, she wanders around watching her family and her murderer.

This starts off good enough with some Brian Eno (Airports, I think, but later we also get the exhilaratingly great "Third Uncle") but it eventually morphs into a nonsensical downer glazed in this faux-spiritual depth with poorly-defined characters and some of the worst writing you'll ever hear. "Neato." "Suzy's in the in-between." Uggh. Heaven or purgatory or whatever you want to call it is apparently nothing more than being stuck in a gazebo in th e middle of somebody's screen-saver circa 1997. And honestly, if that's what heaven looks like, I think I'd rather see what's on the other side because those colors could make an angel vomit up his unleavened bread or whatever they eat. I'm sure Peter Jackson's version of hell would have Andy Serkis in it as some demon monkey or maybe Beelzebubba himself though, so it's a tough call. Putting up with Devil Gollum or living inside a kitschy Japanese music video or a commercial for flavored water? And I don't usually do this, but I'm going to go ahead and spoil this one for you. If you haven't seen this, I don't want you to anyway. This film is more guilty at Hollywoodily tying things together than anything in recent memory. Instead of satisfying or realistic ways of ending things for these characters, it all turns into this feel-good thing that made me almost ill. I'm sorry, Peter Jackson et. al., but that's just not life. The scene where the killer gets his? Come on, Peter Jackson! Maybe that's how karma works in New Zealand, but I'm not buying it. Peter Jackson's capable of good things when he's making orcs fight or destroying zombies with lawn mowers. But when it comes to portraying real human emotion on the screen, he's just not the guy. It's actually a little troubling to me that the scenes with the cliched pervert are done very well while everything involving the family made me sigh audibly. I hated this movie.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Unstoppable

2010 train mayhem

Rating: 12/20

Plot: Earl's brother from the Hey! I'm Earl television sitcom screws up and loses his train, a locomotive hauling a few cars with some deadly-dangerous stuff that, if it spills off the track in some Pennsylvania town like they think it will, could potentially destroy the earth. Thank God for Denzel Washington, a train conducting veteran who, with the help of an arrogant young buck, is there to save the day.

This is the best tall tale that has both a black guy and something to do with trains since John Henry! I halfway enjoyed half of this movie. It's predictable as an action movie. There are also too many scenes with people doing work which reminded me that I was supposed to be doing work and nearly ruined the good time that I was having there on the Urine Couch with the late Gene Siskel. My mind started wandering a bit as jittery action sequences started bleeding into more jittery action sequences which bled into quiet reflective scenes where Denzel and the kid talk about their lives. I started wondering if I'd be able to take care of business if the motel started to move, gaining momentum as it merged with traffic on 465. Would I be able to stop the thing? And would some of our weekly guests be considered toxic? Like, if we tumbled off 465 into traffic on 65, would we explode in a cloud of cocaine and filth, forcing Indianapolis inhabitants to evacuate the city in a search for cleaner air? Regardless, I bet we'd make the news. We'll likely make the news soon enough anyway. Our rivals down the street did after their manager, another Indian guy, was beaten to death and thrown in a dumpster. I can definitely see that happening at my place. What are the chances of two Indiana Indian hotel managers being murdered within a couple weeks of each other? I hope angry customers don't try to beat me and throw me in a dumpster. Or if it happens, I hope Denzel Washington pops out and saves my life, all with really jerky editing and multiple camera angles showing him ripping stop signs from the concrete and swinging them at the bad guys. I love that in movies like Unstoppable, by the way. It's like the director Tony Scott said, "Look, everybody. I've done a lot of these action movies and wasted a whole bunch of planes when doing Top Gun because the cameraman's thumb was in the shot or the explosion didn't look explosiony enough or whatever. We've only got so many trains and cars, so we've got to make this count" and then set up about fifty cameras to shoot the same shot of a huge train crashing into some cars. Then, he looked at the footage and said, "You know what? This is all good! We can't waste any of this shiznit!" and decided to use it all. All the shiznit. Seeing the same train-crashing-into-car scenes from the same angle, sometimes in slow motion, adds about thirty minutes to the movie. Without those extra camera angles, you'd be forced to either tell this story in about sixty minutes or add a lot more scenes of Denzel and the kid talking about life. Anyway, a lot of cardboard to chew through with this one.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Kissing Jessica Stein

2001 lesbian romantic comedy

Rating: 12/20

Plot: The titular Jewish heterosexual journalist struggles to find herself a suitable man and eventually gives up after she meets hot little Helen Cooper. They do girl things--shopping, vacuuming, putting on nail polish--before progressing to some lighter lesbian action--staring lustfully, smooching, cuddling. Then, it's full-fledged lesbian action, all shown off screen and making this movie completely worthless to nearly everybody.

I'm not a hipster feminist or a lesbian and therefore not really the target audience for this. To me, it was like a watered-down Woody Allen movie, not the primo vintage Woody in the first or middle stages of his career or even the watered-down self-conscious Woody Allen in the second half of his career but an even more watered-down version in a yet-to-arrive third stage of his career. Most of the characters irritated me, and Jessica just wasn't somebody I cared to follow around for an hour and a half. I felt like the movie kept winking at me, and then I'd look over at Gene Siskel's ghost on the other Urine Couch cushion and notice that he was also winking at me. He also was doing everything he could to make it obvious that he had an erection, and after a while, I was just wanting to say, "Alright, Gene. We get it. You like lesbians. Just make sure you keep that thing to yourself." My apologies to fans of Kissing Jessica Stein, but I really can't think of anything to say about this movie.

The Village Barbershop

2008 old-fart-being-rejuvenated-by-young-person movie

Rating: 13/20

Plot: Poor Art. He's still recovering from the death of his wife when his partner and the barbershop passes away. The business is struggling, especially with the landlord looking for any reason to throw him out and make a lot more money with another venture. Enter Gloria, a young hell cat with problems of her own who wants to be his new assistant. He reluctantly agrees.

My lukewarm feelings about this movie doesn't change my opinion that The Ratz needs to be in more movies. I mean, he practically carried Cheers on his beastly shoulders, and he's arguably the reason why The Empire Strikes Back is the movie that it is. And, of course, Pixar just wouldn't be Pixar without The Ratz. Anyway, he's good, master mustachioed badass thespian who could probably take on thirty Clint Eastwoods in a fight. Matrix style! And yeah, I know that Clint Eastwood is around ninety years old, but he's Clint Eastwood and there are thirty of them. Still an impressive feat in my book. This Shelly Cole actress is pretty good, too, but I went through the bulk of this movie thinking she was somebody else. You know, that actress who always plays this sort of role. But it's not her at all. Cole's done very little unless you count Punk Girl God in an episode of the short-lived Joan of Arcadia or Filthy-Haired Girl in Art School Confidential as more than very little. No, the acting isn't really the problem here at all. The problem is that the characters aren't nearly interesting enough to keep this thing going. The Ratz's character is also sent, predictably, through some miserable moments that kind of suck the momentum and sweetness from the movie, too. There are also just too many of these movies where a lonely curmudgeon learns to embrace life again with the help of a youngster. Shut up, all you Up haters.

Summer of Nicolas Cage Movie #18: World Trade Center

2006 movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: Lee Harvey Oswald vacations in New York City and after a wild night on the town, knocks two skyscrapers down. Some policemen get themselves trapped in the rubble and aren't rescued for several days, after somebody watches the Zapruder film and finds out they weren't on the grassy knoll at all and uses the process of elimination to determine that they were being heroes.

Perhaps Oliver Stone should have waited a little more than five years to make a comedy about 9/11. Too soon!
I didn't like this movie much. What I did like was that Oliver Stone avoids recreating any of the more familiar scenes from the "worst tragedy on American soil" (unless you count what white people did to the Native Americans, of course) and gives the point of view of characters who didn't even know what was going on. The collapse scenes were intense and realistic. The rest of the movie where you can barely see the characters trapped in the darkness and chunks of building? Not so much. It seemed endless, possibly the effect that Stone wanted to have, and too often dove into overly-sentimental waters. Nicolas Cage and his mustache were unnecessary; I didn't need any star power to help this story along. And it's impossible to be Nicolas Cage when you're trapped under a bunch of rubble. But anyway, that character didn't need to be played by Nicolas Cage, and it might have been better if he wasn't. This didn't need to be directed by Oliver Stone either. I half-expected to get a scene where Dick Cheney is flying one of the planes or something. World Trade Center is completely unnecessary. It adds nothing new to the day's folklore and says nothing that couldn't have been covered in an editorial that would have taken me five minutes to read.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Frenzy

1972 shocking masterpiece

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Oh, snap! London's got itself a Jack the Strangler who sexually violates his female victims before tie-ing them in the necks until their tongues hang lifelessly out. Since poor Richard stumbled into an Alfred Hitchcock movie, he's mistakenly suspected by the po-po after his ex-wife winds up dead. He's all like, "Whatever, man. I didn't do nothing!" and tries to find the real killer like the guy searching for the one-armed man or O.J. Simpson to prove his innocence.

I like working Monday mornings at the motel because one of the channels I get for the Urine Couch AM Movie Club shows a Hitchcock movie. The one before this was The Birds, one of the most erotic movies ever made in my opinion, but I missed it because I got the dates mixed up. Like a lot of Uncle Alfred's later films, this one seems a little dated. It just looks like a product of the 1970s to me. But although it's not quite a masterpiece, it's a tense thriller with some great moments that nobody but Hitchcock, here at his surliest and randiest, could provide, most famously in a great long shot that walks the viewer backwards out of the scene of a crime and into the street. Unlike a previous scene, this one spares us the brutality, but the shot might be even more chilling because of it. Just masterful stuff. That earlier scene is especially brutal, the camera lingering on the violence before ending with an almost clownish shot of the victim with her tongue hanging out like a child pretending she's just been strangled. Another great scene involves the murderer hiding in a potato truck. Like most of Uncle Alfred's work, he offers a generous helping of dark humor with the moody violence, so there's this odd blend of grim and comical that I really liked. And the perverse old man threw in some nudity as well! I liked the cast a lot, more probably because I didn't recognize any of them, and the finale, with one hell of an final line, rivals my favorite Hitchcockian endings. This is a well-written, edgy thriller that works as a final semi-masterpiece. It's also got a lot of really ugly English people in it. Do they all look like that?

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Not Another Teen Movie

2001 comedy

Rating: 4/20

Plot: I really don't want to take the time to type out a plot synopsis for this thing.

This almost broke my personal record for quickest that I stopped watching a movie with a scene around the two minute mark featuring Randy Quaid and a vibrator. I started to get up to change the channel to see if maybe a rerun of the 2007 World Series of Poker was on, but Gene Siskel's ghost grabbed me by the shirt sleeve and had just the most appealing look in his eyes. Sometimes, pickings are slim with the Urine Couch AM Movie Club, and you just have to go with what you're given. It's what makes the Urine Couch AM Movie Club magical. Gene Siskel's ghost, by the way, laughed uproariously throughout this movie, slapping the armrest on his side of the Urine Couch and spitting ghost saliva all over the place. I couldn't find a single laugh. Yeah, I know what this is trying to do, and I know who it might appeal to. But the parody is like the shallow end of the pool, and most reasonable adults, when they decide to dive in, are just going to wind up needing stitches on their foreheads. This lampoons a whole bunch of 80's and 90's movies, few which I like anyway because they already seem like spoofs of the genre some times, but it does it without the least amount of cleverness I've ever seen. Here's the line that perfectly encapsulates what Not Another Teen Movie is all about: "Girl go pee pee not something I want to see see." No, I'm not making that up. That's actually in the movie. Somebody sat down and write that down, probably laughed to himself, and then submitted it to somebody so that an actor would actually say it on screen to make people laugh. The actor (Sam Levine from Freaks & Geeks, I think; I don't really remember though) then read the line, decided it was a good idea for his career to go ahead and say the line while being filmed with an actual camera, and finished the line. See, I probably would have gotten to the second "pee" before saying, "Wait a second here. Are you sure this is such a good idea, Joel Gallen? I know you directed Mariah Carey's Homecoming Special and produced a whole bunch of classic spoofs for the MTV video awards and probably know what you're doing, but I don't know." But then the editor of Not Another Teen Movie saw the footage, assuming he got past the part with Randy Quaid and the dildo, and decided to save it from the cutting room floor. "Girl go pee pee not something I want to see see" actually survived and made it to the cheap little television set in the lobby of my motel after, I don't know, fifty or so people saw it. How is that possible? I get those Quaid brothers confused by the way. I always think Randy is named Dennis and vice versa. They're both useless Hollywood entities. One might as well be made out of cardboard, and the other one should be eaten by hobos. This movie also has Mr. T, but it surprisingly lacks a cameo appearance by Gary Coleman. The most annoying thing about the movie is the music. The soundtrack to Not Another Teen Movie must have been a ten-cd box set!

I will not be seeing any more of these spoofy things any time soon.

After this was over, I cleansed my palate by rewatching A Serious Man. That's still brilliant.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Galaxy Quest

1999 sci-fi comedi

Rating: n/r

Plot: A group of washed-up actors from a Star Trek-esque cult favorite keep themselves busy on the convention circuit or the grand openings of shopping malls. Which reminds me: when I was a kid, the Lone Ranger came to the grand opening of a car dealership in Terre Haute, Indiana, and my parents took me to see him. It was exciting because I knew who the Lone Ranger was and everything. Unfortunately, because of some contract dispute or something else that my young mind couldn't comprehend, he was not allowed to wear his mask. He still had the rest of his costume on; he just couldn't wear the trademark mask. So he had dark sunglasses on instead. It was the first time in my life that I thought anything was "gay," and I let him know that to his face. But anyway, I digress. These characters are grabbed by aliens who think their television show is documentary footage and recruited to help them in their fight against some other aliens.

This viewing was oft-interrupted by costumers who needed things, including a masculine women who had "a piece of metal in [her] hand" and was loopy on the pain pills. Good cast including, surprisingly, Tim Allen. I thought Alan Rickman was very funny, and I liked Sigourney Weaver playing sexy. I suppose a lot of guys and extraterrestrials would which is probably why they've got her boobs front and center on the poster there. And the two bald green alien noggins which mirror them or add balance or whatever. The story's also cute. But nothing really grabbed me in this one, and I thought the actual space scenes looked pretty stupid, so I really have no desire to give this a proper viewing. To me, the whole thing felt like a waste of that good idea and good cast. Like I said, however, I didn't really watch it because of a person who couldn't figure out how to get a Snickers out of the vending machine or needed a working telephone at four in the morning. What do you think? Should I give it another go some time?

127 Hours

2010 dumb guy movie

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Cocky thrill-seeker Aron Ralston goes on a little hiking adventure through some familiar canyons in Utah and finds himself trapped and completely alone after a freak accident that wedges his arm between a large boulder and a canyon wall. He spends a harrowing few days trying to figure a way out of the predicament and survive.

This could almost be a cell phone service provider commercial. After a few hours, Ralston could reach in his backpack and grab a phone only to find out that he doesn't get service way out in the middle of nowhere. Then, the guy with glasses could peek out from the top of the canyon and say, "What? No bars? Sucks to be you!" and then take off laughing hysterically.

Franco's performance is really good here, and I don't usually buy his characters in movies. I like him, but not so much as an actor. Here, he plays the lone-character-trapped-somewhere really well, and his initial panic and the ensuing mental breakdown is believable. This was certainly a pretty movie to look at, the camera taking in all these beautiful canyons, probably my favorite sort of movie landscape. The early parts of the movie with Franco running all over the place almost reminded me of a more hyperkinetic Gerry, that Casey Affleck movie where he and Matt Damon wander aimlessly and call each other Gerry. You ever see that one? I don't think anybody going into this will be surprised by the outcome. It seems like everything I read about this movie spoiled it within the first paragraph. It doesn't make the scene where 90% of him escapes his fate any less dramatic though. Franco's got an odd physicality with this role. He's stuck in one position, but he does a great job of somehow conveying a lot with body language and facial expressions anyway. I'm not sure I always like what director Danny Boyle's doing in this. It's that sort of modern direction that seems influenced by music videos and a lot of what Boyle does in this and his other movies just seems very plastic, but I do like the little camera and editing tricks that allows the audience to experience the mental anguish and breakdown that the character goes through. That includes one of my favorite movie moments of the year which involves Scooby Doo. All in all, this is a gripping hour and a half that, in the wrong hands, could have easily seemed like 127 hours. Better than I expected for sure.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Predators

2010 sequel

Rating: 6/20

Plot: The titular alien things get tired of fighting against King Kong or whoever the studio responsible for these predator movies had them fighting in the last movie and decide to do a nearly shot-for-shot remake of the first movie (Predator) that had only a single alien thing (the titular Predator) but a real blockbuster action hero (Arnold Swarzeneggar). It's highly-trained humans with ludicrous weapons trying to survive being hunted by the predators on the latter's home planet.

After a sharp in-medias-res intro in which Brody spills from the sky, this turns into a one-note predictable actioner that wears out its welcome long before the black character dies. Well, the first black character. The biggest problem is that I can't buy Adrian Brody as an action hero. He's got a silly looking gun that looks like something I could buy at a Big 'n' Tall kiddy toy store and looks like the nerdy kid down the street who invited the neighborhood kids over to play army. But they only show up because his mother is kind of hot and has popsicles. The nice popsicles, too--not those cheap things that you have to suck out of the plastic tubes. Brody adopts this tough guy grizzly voice that makes it clear he spent a little money on Christian Bale's "How to Almost Ruin a Movie Using Only a Ridiculous Voice" set of instructional dvd's. The other characters--the guy from Machete (Trejo) since people who make movies like this think that including somebody like that will automatically make a movie better, some chick who might have been on Lost, and a bunch of other stock characters. Oh, and Laurence Fishburne who plays the same kind of guy he always does. I'm sure the poorly written dialogue doesn't help, but Fishburne's performance really stinks in this. He did give me a pretty sweet pick-up line if Jennifer ever decides to leave me and forces me to be a predator again myself. All I would need to do in my hunt for Wife #2 would be to saunter over to a pretty lady at a discotheque or fast food restaurant and say (in my most Fishburney cadence): "Smelled you since you got here." Yeah, I know. If I had female readers, they'd be melting right about now. This has constant music burbling below the surface, and almost every scene is assembled with this artificial suspense. But almost every scene seems extraneous since this movie never really goes anywhere. To illustrate, there's a scene with a bunch of booby traps (none which work) which seems to be the story's way of showing the audience that something might possibly happen at some point in the movie. There's a climactic fight scene where you can barely tell what's going on because there's a glare on the television from the motel lobby lights, but I honestly didn't even care what was going on at that point. I was just hoping that Brody would somehow use his nose to defeat the predators. And don't get me started on the CGI-porcupine monkeys. I think this set special effects back ten years or so.

Most ludicrous line: A character named Stans says that when they make it back home, he can't wait to do a bunch of cocaine and rape women. "I'll be like, what time is it? Five o'clock? Damn. Time to rape me some fine bitches." See, maybe it's just jealousy, but I'm really bugged that somebody is making money writing that crap.

Gene Siskel's ghost, by the way, liked this a lot more than I did. Then again, there's a guy who enjoyed raping bitches in his spare time, so he probably connected more with the characters than I did.

Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Rat Race

2001 comedy movie

Rating: 14/20

Plot: An eccentric rich guy collects a group of Vegas vacationers and sends them on a race to retrieve a briefcase with two millions dollars hidden within a New Mexican storage locker. He and his friends bet on who will be first while the racers scheme to get ahead.

I saw this on a plane once and now again on network television; in other words, I've yet to see this entire movie. And if that means I've missed a potential Whoopi Goldberg nude scene, I may have to grab it on dvd from a K-Mart clearance rack and watch it again. This doesn't succeed because of any originality. It's been done and done again with It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (That's Mad) and The Cannonball Run 3. But despite the lack of Buddy Hackett or Burt Reynolds' mustache, this brings some unexpected laughs because its writer (WFMU's own [and Monk creator/writer Andy Breckman) takes it some places other writers might not dare take it. You get some poking fun at mental illness, child molestation, sacred cow Lucille Ball, and the abuse of livestock. Oh, and Hitler. The humor's broad, ranging from dumb-as-dumb-gets slapstick to a lot of clever bits. Like the aforementioned road race movies, this has a huge cast. Rowan Atkinson ranges from absolutely brilliantly comic to really annoying. Jon Lovitz is always a guy who I don't want to like but just can't help myself. And John Cleese is hilarious in a role that might be largely improvised. This is rapidly-paced for the OCD crowd and has a lot of unpredictable fun. My biggest gripe--the use of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" which really cheapens the proceedings.

Do any of you know of a movie that has a Whoopi Goldberg nude scene? I'll take partial nudity even. Thanks in advance!